Cavallo leads Wrestling to tenth place finish at Pa. invitational

By ESTHER HONG | December 7, 2017

This past weekend, the Hopkins wrestling team travelled to York, Pa., for the New Standard Corporation Invitational. The Blue Jays ended the day with a 10th-place finish at the 17-team tournament.

Hopkins tallied 46 total points, led by junior Ricky Cavallo, who contributed the most points with his runner-up title.

“The team performed very well as a whole at this tournament. We placed 10th out of 17 teams, and there were nine nationally-ranked teams present. We also had significantly more victories than last year,” Cavallo said.

To start the day, Cavallo, who competed in the 133-pound weight class, cruised through his first three rounds of the tournament. In the first round, he took the victory in just 31 seconds with a pin-down against Williams College’s Dietrich Hartman.

In his second round of the day, Cavallo finished with a major decision, defeating the United States Merchant Marines’ Tyler Craig 13-2.

The third round would determine whether Cavallo would advance to the semifinal round. Cavallo scored a 16-1 technical fall against Baldwin Wallace University’s Dante Ginnetti. With a strong tilt move, Cavallo quickly tallied 12 total near-fall points and advanced to the next round.

In the semifinals, Cavallo once again asserted his dominance with a first-period pin against The College of New Jersey (TCNJ)’s Anthony Rua. Cavallo quickly gained a 6-0 lead with an early takedown and a four-point near fall.

Starting on top for the next restart, Cavallo scored another four points on a near fall and stuck Rua on the ground to clinch his spot in the championship round.

“I have been working on mistakes I make with the coaches and my teammates, so having made those improvements definitely helped,” Cavallo said.

In the finals, Cavallo faced second-ranked Johnson & Wales University’s Jay Albis, who was the 2017 NCAA runner-up. Albis scored a takedown, a two-point near fall and an escape to take home the championship title. Cavallo lost 7-1.

“Sadly, I didn’t perform as well as I had hoped in the finals, but I’ll learn from the mistakes I made and go over how to improve with our coaches,” Cavallo said.

Despite the loss, Cavallo still finished with a winning record of 4-1.

Five other Jays — junior Isaac Morales, senior Christian Vallis, freshman Dominick Reyes, senior Connor Joyce and senior Lucas Escobar — also had notable performances at the Invitational.

Morales, who competed in the 184 weight class, advanced to the quarterfinals after opening the day with victories in the first and second rounds. Morales scored a pin against North Central College’s Evan Stingily in the first round.

In the second round, Morales finished with a 15-0 technical fall against Averett University’s Triston Kechter. In the quarterfinals, Morales fell to fifth-ranked and eventual champion Jake Ashcraft from Ithaca College.

However, Morales continued to wrestle in the consolation bracket. He clinched a 5-4 victory against TCNJ’s Daniel Surich but was eliminated in the next consolation round against Baldwin Wallace’s Zeckary Lehman.

Vallis, who competed in the 125-pound weight class, also advanced to the quarterfinals after taking 8-2 and 6-5 victories in the first and second rounds, respectively. Vallis lost 15-1 in the quarterfinal matchup against fourth-ranked and eventual runner-up Chris Doyle of Baldwin Wallace.

In the consolation bracket, Vallis was one point short as Averett’s Sam Braswell defeated him 8-7.

Reyes, similarly to Morales and Vallis, dropped out of the winner’s bracket in the quarterfinals in the 157 weight class.

Although he took two dominant victories in the first two rounds of the tournament, he faced and fell to fourth-ranked and eventual champion Zach Wilhelm of Stevens Institute of Technology. Reyes, now competing in the consolation bracket, lost 12-2 against the State University of New York at Cortland’s Greg Chery.

Joyce, competing for the 149 weight class, faced top-seeded Sammy Schneider of Ithaca College, ending in an unfortunate loss in the first round.

Despite the unlucky tournament seeding, Joyce made a deep run in the consolation bracket, as he won the next three matches. In his third match won, Joyce came back from an 8-5 deficit, forcing the match to overtime.

He ultimately defeated Ithaca’s Demetri D’Orsaneo with a takedown. Running out of steam, Joyce lost his next match 7-1 against Baldwin Wallace’s Stanley Bleich.

Escobar went 2-2 in the 141 weight class. After falling his first match against eventual third-place finisher Joao Vicente of Johnson & Wales University, Escobar took two consecutive victories in the consolation bracket.

However, he lost his last match against Baldwin Wallace’s Tanner McHugh 8-4. With many weeks left in the season, the Jays have time to grow their skillset and hope to ultimately push all individuals to reach All-American status by the end of their careers.

“The team always has the goal of producing All-Americans and Scholar All-Americans,” Cavallo said. “Everyone works hard on the mat and in the classroom. It may sound repetitive, but we plan to achieve these goals by continuing to train, prepare and improve for the end of the year.”

Hopkins will travel to Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Dec. 10, to compete in the Grapple at the Garden Tournament.

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